If you aren’t ready for the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, you better be. There have already been a handful of Game 1s and before you know it, some first-round series are going to be over with.
For bettors, that means it’s another month or so of opportunity to capitalize on your NHL betting. Here’s what to look for through the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
2021 Stanley Cup Playoff Futures
When the 2021 NHL season opened in early January, the Colorado Avalanche were a +700 favorite to capture this year’s Stanley Cup. After finishing the regular season with a 39-13-4 record and capturing the President’s Cup with 82 points, the Avs remain the overall favorite to win the Cup. Their NHL futures odds have shortened to +450 though.
Vegas, which finished the season with a 40-14-2 record and 82 points but lost out on the President’s Cup to Colorado, is next on the futures list at +550 to win the Cup. The Knights are actually down 1-0 to the Minnesota Wild already losing Game 1 in overtime. Regardless, should Vegas win its opening series, it will have to face the Avalanche. The Knights and Avs split their eight games this season.
Best Bets for the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs
Reigning Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay opened the season at +900 and is now listed at +800 to repeat. The Lightning will be at full strength during this postseason. Full strength meaning former Hart Trophy winner Nikita Kucherov is back in the lineup after missing the regular season.
Kucherov returned to the Tampa Bay lineup for Game 1 of their first-round series against Florida. He scored twice as the Lightning won 5-4. Tampa Bay went 36-17-3 without Kucherov during the regular season. With him, they will be a force.
The other team to watch from the Central Division is Carolina. The Hurricanes won the division with the 11th-best scoring offense and the fourth-best defense in terms of goals against (2.39).
Longshots for the Cup
After a Game 1 win over Pittsburgh in their first-round series, the New York Islanders are surely worth considering at +2200 to win the Cup.
The Isles were rolling through the first 38 games this season. They were fourth in 5-on-5 goal differential, third in expected goal rate, and first overall in high-danger scoring rate. New York also has arguably the best defense in all of hockey. Finding important information that will help you make money betting the NHL Playoffs is key.
The Islanders struggled over the latter part of the season, but lost captain Anders Lee to injury at midseason. With a playoff berth essentially guaranteed at midseason, the Isles cruised through the final 18 or so games.
If you’re looking for a team to buy low that can play at an elite level, the Islanders are it. The Edmonton Oilers do not have the same type of defensive ability as the Islanders, but they do have two of the best scorers in the league.
In fact, Connor McDavid scored 104 points in 55 games this season. No one, except his teammate Leon Draisaitl, was even close. Draisatl scored 83 points this season and no other player in the NHL topped 70.
With those two, anything is possible. At +2000 at top online sportbooks to win, the Oilers might be a longshot worth considering as making it out of the North Division is the easiest road to the semifinals among all four divisions.
Betting the Conn Smythe Trophy
There is little doubt about who will win this year’s regular season MVP (Hart Trophy) – Connor McDavid. He is a scoring machine, but the question in the postseason is can his Edmonton Oilers get to the finish line of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs? Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The Conn Smythe award to the playoff MVP normally goes to a player on a team that has at least made the Stanley Cup finals. Last year, it was Tampa Bay’s Victor Hedman.
McDavid is given +2200 odds to win the Conn Smythe this year. It might be a shot worth taking especially if the Oilers win their first-round playoff series against Winnipeg.
Toronto’s Auston Matthews is the best player on a team that has a real shot at the Cup finals. Matthews is listed at +1100 to win the Conn Smythe and the Leafs are listed at +600 to win it all. Matthews scored 41 goals and had 25 assists this season.
Colorado’s MacKinnon is the overall favorite to win the award at +800, but a better bet may be on his teammate Mikko Rantanen. Sure, MacKinnon will score a ton, but his playmaking may make Rantanen the big dog in the postseason.
It was Rantanen that led the Avs with 66 points on 30 goals in 52 games played. If he had similar numbers and Colorado played for the Cup, it would make for a nice payout with Rantanen listed at +2000 to win the Conn Smythe.